As Mandela continues to be critical in hospital, family squabbles over burial site

Jun 27, 2013, 09:56 IST | Agencies

While former South African president Nelson Mandela is still fighting for his life in a hospital, his family is squabbling over his final resting place

The family is reportedly divided between his grandson Mandla Mandela, who wants the anti-apartheid icon buried at his birthplace in Mvezo village, and the rest of the family who want to respect his wish to be buried next to his children. Mandla is the head of the Mvezo Traditional Council.

A group of residents sing for Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Monday where he continues to battle for his life. Pic/AFP

The controversy arose as Mandla had exhumed the bodies of his father Makgatho, uncle Thembekile and aunt Makaziwe from the family grave at Mandela’s homestead in Qunu and reburied them at his birthplace Mvezo in 2011.

According to a report, the family had gathered at the Qunu homestead Tuesday for an “ibhunga” or a meeting to discuss an important family matter. Mandla reportedly stormed out of the meeting as the family members sought that the bodies of Makgatho, Makaziwe and Thembekile be moved back to their burial sites in Qunu. “This is making it impossible for Mandela to be buried next to his children because they are buried in Mvezo. Mandela is going to be buried in Qunu. Mandla did this without consulting the elders,” one of the sources was quoted as saying.

SA archbishop prays for Mandela
A South African archbishop who visited Nelson Mandela in hospital has offered a prayer in which he wishes for a "peaceful, perfect, end" for the former president and anti-apartheid leader. Thabo Makgoba posted a prayer on Facebook. In the prayer, Makgoba asked for courage to be granted to Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, and others who love him "at this hard time of watching and waiting," and he appealed for divine help for the medical team treating Mandela.

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